B.J. Penn to consider move to welterweight with win Saturday

Gavin VincentCorrespondent IApril 5, 2010

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"If everything goes well on April 10, I definitely would consider moving up to 170. Not that I'm - not that it's 100-percent guaranteed. If I do make that move I'm going to move slow. I'm not going to try to rush anything. Maybe I would think about it more as testing the waters. I'd talk to Dana and see if he would want me to vacate the belt, but maybe try do something like Anderson (Silva) is doing, test the waters, see how everything is going and see how everything plays out. I try to just be true to myself and what my own personal goals are. And if I feel in my life that I want to try to take a fight at 170 pounds, I've got to stay true to myself and to my motivation. Of course, anybody would like a free shot for the title. But like I said, I want to take my time. I want to test the waters. And it's exactly what Anderson said, we just want to put on some other great fights. That's what this whole thing is about is about, putting on the biggest and the greatest fights in history." - B.J. Penn

Current UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn talks about his desire to move up in weight in search of bigger and better challenges.

Penn (15-5-1) is considered the to be the best lightweight in the world, and possibly the best in history. He has proven certainly that he is the best current lightweight fighter in the UFC with five straight dominant performances at the weight class. In his last three lightweight fights, Penn has faced Sean Sherk, Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez. Each was considered to be the number one contender for Penn's UFC lightweight title when he faced them, and each was soundly defeated.

With the talent gap between Penn and the rest of the UFC's lightweight division seemingly insurmountable for the current crop of top lightweights, Penn is eager to seek out challenges elsewhere should he pass his next test at lightweight, a showdown with Frankie Edgar this Saturday at UFC 112.

Penn, who has fought extensively at welterweight in the past, even holding the UFC's welterweight championship for a time, has a frame clearly more suited for lightweight. The 5'9" Hawaiian born jiu-jitsu savant has a relatively slight build and would suffer a notable size disadvantage should he choose to move back up to the weight. Especially in recent years as fighters have mastered the art of cutting weight.

Thiago Alves, one of the divisions' top contenders, cuts to the welterweight limit of  170-pounds from an astounding 200-pounds. And Jon Fitch, another of the divisions' top fighters started his MMA career as a light-heavyweight. 

Still, Penn, who has never shied away from a challenge, undoubtedly possesses the requisite skill to compete at the higher weight class, and if he wins at UFC 112 this Saturday his list of notable lightweight challengers will have grown very thin.

A move up at that point would seem justified and would likely be inevitable.